Stories we couldn’t cover: StandDown for Veterans


This morning, at coffee before the Wilder Foundation conference on homelessness, I met Gretchen Blais from the non-profit Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans. Today and tomorrow (May 25 and 26), MACV is sponsoring the annual StandDown for veterans at Fort Snelling. This is one of many stories that I hoped we could cover, but could not – including:

• the May 13 St. Paul Board of Ed listening session (and board meetings),
• the May 19 Native Nations movie and forum,
• the MVNA teen pregnancy assistance programs.

If you would like to help, check the Assignment Desk for stories you could cover, or send us a story from your community organization, religious center, youth group, library, park … we need you to help cover our community. And that StandDown story? Read on …

The MACV press release describes the StandDown now underway:

All veterans seeking services are welcome. Onsite assistance available include free meals, clothing, VA benefit information, legal assistance—including court, federal and state tax assistance, housing and employment assistance and referrals, chemical dependency recovery groups, DMV, haircuts, chaplaincy, public benefits information, entertainment, and more.

Gretchen told me that the metro-area StandDown is one of six around the state. She works in Mankato, where the StandDown will take place in November, on the Tuesday after Veterans’ Day. Other StandDown events take place in International Falls, Duluth, Bemidji, and Rochester.

The Fort Snelling StandDown will include a StandDown court – for the first time – with registration on the first day, volunteer attorneys available, and court on the second day. For more information on the StandDown or MACV, call 612.726.1327.

Gretchen also mentioned that MACV saw half of its funding cut from 2009 to 2010. I didn’t have time to pursue the story further before the forum began. If you’re interested in reporting about veterans, MACV would be a good place to start.

We don’t have resources to cover everything. That’s one reason that our Assignment Desk puts stories out there and asks YOU to cover them, and that we publish unedited stories that you submit in our Free Speech Zone.

(And the Wilder forum on homelessness? Watch for more on that in the week ahead.)